The 2016 NBA playoffs are slowing down a bit as we get fully submerged into the second round. The round two action did already start this past Saturday, however, when the San Antonio Spurs successfully defender their turf in a game one demolition of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LaMarcus Aldridge and co. aim to do something very similar in game two tonight, while the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks also square off to complete an exciting two-game slate. The big question, of course, is if these matchups can go further than initial interest and actually provide us with an upset. Just as importantly, should NBA bettors be chasing bets for the spread or the total in either game? Let’s find out by breaking down both of Monday night’s matchups:

Atlanta Hawks (4) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (1)

Line: Cavs -7.5 Total: 200

This series is interesting for a few reasons. For one, this is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, which ended with a 4-0 sweep for the Cavs, but was actually a pretty intense and hard-fought series to declare an entrance into the 2015 NBA Finals. This series won’t punch that ticket, but it’s worth wondering if Atlanta has learned anything from that series and if they’ll be out for blood. Two other things playing into that notion is Cleveland’s so far unblemished 4-0 2016 playoff record, as well as Cleveland’s 3-0 regular season hold over these very Hawks.

So, can Atlanta beat the odds here and take down Cleveland in game one? It’s unlikely. Dating back to the playoffs last year, the Cavs have won seven straight in this series, are pretty unstoppable at Quicken Loans Arena and boast a star-studded roster led by the King himself, LeBron James. Atlanta also isn’t as good as they were the last time these two sides met in the playoffs. Kyle Korver has regressed a bit, while losing defensive stopper DeMarre Carroll had their defense – while still quite strong – taking a hit. Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefalosha still provide resistance out on the perimeter, but it’s just not the same.

The simply harsh reality is the Hawks don’t have someone to consistently slow down James, they don’t rebound very well and they also lack a reliable go-to scorer. We can probably expect some tough games and maybe even 1-2 wins for the Hawks, but not to start things out. That being said, Atlanta knows they’ll have to come out with their A game to start this one, so I do like them to hang around and beat this spread.

Pick: Cavs 104, Hawks 98

Oklahoma City Thunder (3) @ San Antonio Spurs (2)

Line: Spurs -7.5 Total: 203

San Antonio is very annoying at home. They lost just one home game all year during the regular season (to the Warriors) and have proven just how good they can be with several home game blowouts in a brief playoff run thus far. It’s tough to assume they’ll blow the Thunder out for a second game in a row, but judging by how easy it looked for them in game one, we also can’t rule it out.

OKC certainly brings elite offense to the table, but it’s tough to list that as a strength when you have Kawhi Leonard draping Kevin Durant and both LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan limiting Russell Westbrook to a jump shooter. Barring huge outside shooting nights from KD and Russ and/or their role players being huge, it’s very tough to see how they get past both San Antonio’s stifling defense, and also find a way to slow their offense down on the other end.

The reality is OKC just does not have the tools to consistently defend, and their offense can fall into lulls if KD and Russ get held in check. With San Antonio showing precisely how they can do that in game one, we have to give the Spurs the benefit of the doubt heading into game two. Better effort on defense should help the Thunder, while KD and Westbrook are too good to be held down forever. Another 32-point win probably isn’t in the cards, but covering should be.

Pick: Spurs 109, Thunder 101

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